How to Raise Money for a Nonprofit
by MELISSA JUN ROWLEY/ Causecast
The word “business” sometimes has a negative connotation in the world of social activism. However, business doesn’t have to be an ugly word – in fact, it’s a necessary part of any organization that relies on money to function, including nonprofits. Even though extra income does not come into play for nonprofits, expenses are still a factor in day-to-day operations and strategic planning. State, government, and 501c3 fees can end up totaling up to $1200 to get your nonprofit started.
For this reason, developing a fundraising plan must be a top priority.
Each fundraising activity should be broken down into the steps that will produce the highest level of results with the most cost-effective effort. Each person on your team should know exactly what’s expected of them.
Before You Put Your Fundraising Plan Into Action
Before you begin to implement your fundraising plan, you’ll want to determine your budget and how much money you want to raise. You should know exactly the amount you’ll need each year to keep your organization running. Then you’ll need to make a list of people, businesses, agencies and organizations that might be interested in donating to your cause.
Fundraising involves soliciting donations at all levels – from individual philanthropists, philanthropy organizations, the government and corporations. Be sure to compile and maintain a general list of all of your potential donors. Guard this list with your life! Make it a point to bond with your desired contributors and cultivate long-lasting relationships with them. After all, you’re in this together. Making money for your nonprofit will gain you inches, making friendships will move mountains. Sustaining your company will be difficult if you constantly have to put on fundraisers or write grants. The relationships you develop will undoubtedly help you grow your business through positive word of mouth in the nonprofit sector.
To move forward in effectively bringing in money, you’ll need to define your target donors and tailor your plan toward those specific people or groups. For example, if you think that people over 40 in suburban areas are more likely to give to your cause, then your fundraising plan should target that specific demographic.
A fundraising initiative will not be successful unless you determine exactly what type of fundraising you will do, and how often. Your nonprofit may decide to hold three fundraising functions, two membership drives, and apply for two grants every year. You can plan to raise funds on a regular basis with the support of staff and volunteers through direct fundraising.
You may want to hold a traditional fundraising event, such as a golf tournament, a silent auction, or a concert. Aim to keep costs as low as possible, relying mostly on donated resources, so that the event will be sure to make money.
Once you establish your target audience and the kind of fundraising you want to do, you can plan your campaign.